Palestinians evicted from eastern Jerusalem homes, Jews move in


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jewish families moved into two homes in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood following the eviction of its Palestinian residents.

The families who moved into the homes on Thursday in Beit Hanina, a well-off Arab neighborhood in the northern quadrant of eastern Jerusalem, are the first Jewish residential presence in the neighborhood.

An Israeli court ruled recently that Jews had legally purchased the properties.

Fourteen members of the Natshe family had lived in the two homes. Some were evicted from one of the homes on Wednesday. The home next door had been evacuated several weeks ago; police were required to remove the residents and their property on Wednesday, according to reports.

The settler-run Israel Land Fund took over the fight for the properties from a man who said he purchased the homes more than three decades ago. The properties also were owned by Jews before 1948, according to the fund. The organization plans to establish a Jewish enclave of 50 apartments in the Arab neighborhood.

United Nations humanitarian coordinator Maxwell Gaylard said Thursday in a statement that the "Evictions of Palestinians from their homes and properties in occupied territory contravene international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and should cease."

Some see Beit Hanina becoming like the Shimon Hatzadik enclave in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah, which must be protected by private security and has touched off several controversies. In that case as well, a court ruled in favor of Jewish ownership and three Palestinian families were evicted.

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